The First Tee of Greater Houston teens selected to play in official PGA TOUR Champions event

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 Mallorie Luitwieler, Ethan Korock, and Christian Rodriguez head to Pebble Beach for PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee, which is celebrating its 15thAnniversary 

 Tournament To Air Internationally on Golf Channel this September

The First Tee of Greater Houston is sending Mallorie Luitwieler, Ethan Korock, and Christian Rodriguezto compete in the 2018 PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee, an official PGA TOUR Champions event to be contested at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California, September 24-30. The tournament, which is hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, will be televised internationally on Golf Channel September 28-30.

The PURE Insurance Championship is the only event of its kind in which 81 junior golfers from The First Tee are teamed with 81 PGA TOUR Champions players and 162 amateurs during an official PGA TOUR Champions tournament.Luitwieler, Korock, and Rodriguezwill be competing for the pro-junior title. They will join 80 other participantsfrom The First Tee chapters, selected by a national panel of judges. The participants, which represent 22 states, were selected based on playing ability and application of the Nine Core Values and life skills learned through their involvement with The First Tee’s programs.

The junior field was announced July 11 on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. The show included surprises from PGA TOUR winner Jason Gore, Web.com Tour member Cameron Champ, Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais and Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer.

“We are proud to be a part of such a prestigious event that supports so many deserving young men and women from The First Tee throughout the country,” said Katherine Frattarola, Chief Marketing Officer of the PURE Group of Insurance Companies. “They are what make this tournament so special, and it’s humbling to be a part of something that has such a profound impact on their lives both on and off the course.”

“We are proud of the junior golfers selected to play at this year’s PURE Insurance Championship,” said Keith Dawkins, Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee. “These 81 teens, and the event, embody The First Tee’s beliefs around the importance of fan engagement, diversity and inclusion and having a sense of civic responsibility that is expressed through our Nine Core Values.”

As of July 11, players committed to compete in the PURE Insurance Championship include defending champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer, as well as fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Sandy Lyle. Players have until Friday, September 21 to commit, with additional commitments to be announced in the coming months.

Mallorie Luitwieler, 15, is a Freshman at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy. Outside of golf, Luitwieler plays competitive soccer, is her school mascot and works as a crewmember for her school’s play. She loves golf because she gets to play with her family and friends and meet new people.

Ethan Korock, 16, is an Eagle level participant with The First Tee of Greater Houston. According to Korock perseverance is the in The First Tee Core Value that best represents him, “I have been through many challenges in my life including being dyslexic, moving often due to my parents jobs, and having to transfer schools. The First Tee has always taught me never to give up and to persevere through it all.”

Christian Rodriguez, 17, is a Senior at Waltrip High School. Rodrigues, who volunteers as a mentor for The First Tee of Greater Houston, says “Golf has taught me many life lessons, and has allowed me to meet many people from all walks of life. Golf has allowed me to see new things and travel to different places.”

“The First Tee of Greater Houston is thrilled to have three young people selected to participate in the Pure Insurance The First Tee tournament. We are proud of Mallorie, Ethan, and Christian and know they will represent our chapter” said Doug Earle, executive director, The First Tee of Greater Houston. “This opportunity, no doubt, will be a mountaintop experience, one they will never forget. Our entire chapter wishes them well.”

In this 15th tournament year, more than 870 kids from The First Tee have played in the tournament while learning from PGA TOUR Champions players and amateurs in the field, all while showcasing The First Tee’s Nine Core Values and the leadership and life skills they have acquired.

Houston Golf Association holds the charter for The First Tee of Greater Houston, which is one of 165 chapters around the country. Serving the Houston community since 2004, more than a million local youth have been impacted through chapter programs. The golf-based programs are delivered through elementary schools, nine green grass facilities and other youth organizations like the YMCA. The curriculum is focused on helping participants build character through The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

To request an interview or photos of Mallorie Luitwieler, Ethan Korock, or Christian Rodriguez, please contact Melissa DeGrand at mdegrand@hga.org or 281-459-8722. 

About The First Tee of Greater Houston 

The First Tee of Greater Houston has been operating under the Houston Golf Association since 2004. The Houston chapter has expanded its reach into 461 area elementary schools and nine green grass facilities. More than 300,000 Houston-area youth benefit annually from the organization’s learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Visit www.thefirstteegreaterhouston.org for more information.

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